Quantcast

Facebook rallies thousands of Filipinos to ‘pork’ protest



One of the page made for Million People March to Luneta. Screengrab from Facebook.com

MANILA, Philippines – Tens of thousands of people gathered in a central Manila park on Monday to protest against embedded corruption in the Philippine political system after a rallying call on Facebook and Twitter.

The so-called “Million People March” is one of the largest public demonstrations since President Benigno Aquino was elected in 2010 on an anti-corruption platform.

The protesters ranged from nuns and priests and students to businessmen, middle-class families, lawyers and other professionals, showcasing the broad-based anger over graft in the impoverished nation.

“The Filipino people are now modern. Proof is the million people march that we can’t be fooled by our leaders anymore,” a protester calling himself Gundam08 tweeted from the rally site.

Government officials’ misuse of funds has been long embedded and practically accepted in the Philippine political system but a series of newspaper articles, like about how government funds were allegedly diverted into private hands, have stirred new anger outside of the usual protest groups.

The calls for the protest began circulating on Facebook and Twitter about two weeks ago after reports in the popular Philippine Daily Inquirer of an alleged scam involving legislators’ priority development assistance fund (PDAF).

The PDAF is money allocated for lawmakers to be used in their pet development projects. Critics see it as funding “pork barrel” projects which have traditionally been a source of corruption.

At the center of the controversy is a woman the newspapers reported to have allegedly connived with legislators to siphon off some 10 billion pesos ($230 million) from the fund.

Aquino had previously expanded the PDAF under his 2014 budget so that each senator will receive 200 million pesos ($4.5 million) while each member of the House of Representatives gets 70 million pesos for their “pork barrel.”

But in the face of growing anger earlier this month, he had suspended the releases of money and vowed to reform the PDAF system.

The protestors, carrying signs saying “Abolish pork barrel” and “Change the culture of political patronage,” were peaceful even if they appeared to have no leader, said national police spokesman Senior Superintendent Reuben Sindac.

“It’s a very respectable gathering. There are families here like a picnic. They are policing their own ranks. This is purely social-network propelled,” he told AFP while monitoring the rally.
Of the huge crowd at the Luneta Park, only a few hundred were from the leftist protest groups that usually lead such street protests, he said.

Similar rallies were being held in public parks throughout the country, Sindac said, adding they were also peaceful.

Related Stories

Anti pork protesters growing in number

Security tight at Luneta Park for ‘Million People March’

Aquino vows to go after ‘pork abusers’

Aquino faces 1st big protest

Janet Napoles and the pork barrel scam









Recent Stories:

Syrian rebels engaged PH peacekeepers — source 16 mins elapsed Underdog Gilas will prove doubters wrong–Palace 26 mins elapsed Luistro says DepEd still for ‘God-fearing’ learners 59 mins elapsed Palace: Gov’t has contingency plans for trapped PH peacekeepers 1 hour elapsed 3 dead, 8 injured in Zamboanga del Norte jailbreak 2 hours elapsed 20 miners rescued, five still missing in Nicaragua collapse 2 hours elapsed Criminal charges filed by helpers vs Claudine Barretto dismissed 3 hours elapsed Hostage-taker in Laguna shot dead by police 3 hours elapsed
Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

  • robertomadarang

    Is that in total? or just Luneta?

  • sanjuan683

    Nahaluan ng nuns at priests kaya walang kuwenta mga kills joy ang mga yan. hahahahahahahahahahahaha

  • Littlefox131

    60,000… 940,000 more to go :(



Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement Advertisement
Advertisement
Marketplace